Friday, June 03, 2005

Bumblers

BBC - Bumblebees could be facing extinction as inbreeding in colonies turns hard-working female bees into useless males, scientists have found... Male bees are "basically lazy", said study leader Dr David Goulson of the University of Southampton.

A bumblebee queen usually produces a large number of worker daughters to help in the nest and with gathering nectar and pollen. But if the queen mates with a relative, many of the genetically female offspring develop into sterile males.

"Since male bumblebees do no work, and have only one purpose - mating - a sterile male is worse than useless," said Dr Goulson.

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